Hi, we are Michael and Rachel Jacques, a newlywed couple from Memphis,TN who have been amazed at the way God has transformed our lives and our marriage. We've gone from wanting a new home, a new family, and new traditions to truly wanting God to give us a new love for Him and the world around us through a new heart, new mind, and a new perspective.
Paul tells us, "Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new."2 Corinthians 5:17
Thank the Lord for this promise! We are so thankful for what God continues to do in our hearts and are excited about where we feel he is leading us next... which is Assi Chateaubriand, Parana - a small rural city/state in Southwest Brazil.
We first learned about this mission trip only about a month ago when a friend of ours from church called. The opportunity sounded amazing from the get go - a chance to go to Brazil to teach foster children about Jesus and the game of basketball - why not? Enter the adversary with questions of doubt - "How can we afford this?", "If we have to ask for money what will people think?", "Is it safe?", "Are we too busy to do this?". So many questions came flooding in. And the tough part was we only had a week to decide.
We prayed about our decision and one morning came across Exodus 3... the story of Moses and the burning bush when the Lord appears to Moses and tells him to go set his people free in Egypt. Moses questions who he is to go and what will he say to the people about who has sent him. God responds to Moses, "I AM who I am. This is what you are to say to the Israelites: I AM has sent me to you". (Exodus 3:14). Wow! It felt as though God was speaking right to us.. it was clear as day. I AM was sending us to Brazil and He would take care of any questions we had. All we had to do is obey and trust Him. He is such a faithful God!
Our first trip meeting was on March 17, 2014 where we learned about the community we will be visiting, the people there, our fellow team-mates and how God has already provided for this community and continues to do incredible things there. Lar Batista is a ministry that started in the early 60’s when a man named Joaquim Fragoso (now called “Pai” by all, meaning “dad” in Portuguese), a farmer with only a 4th grade education level sought out to help the orphans of Sao Paulo, Brazil where he saw them living on the streets, eating from trash cans. God made many miracles happen in the transformation of Lar Batista… from enabling Pai to go to seminary with a 4th grade education to donation of land that Pai would grow to 30 times its original size and build an orphanage to providing financial support the day bills were due from faithful friends. The story is nothing short of a God-driven mission. To date Lar Batista has raised over 700 children from the streets of Sao Paulo. However, due to changes in government and the foster care system, Lar Batista has to rethink its mission as many children are now being placed in foster homes instead of orphanages.
We are going with our church, Christ United Methodist, to do work that has already begun and to more importantly build relationships with the kids. Our hope is to bring LAR a model of a basketball camp to attract foster kids from around Southwest Brazil. We will host the first basketball camp where we will teach kids fundamentals and show them Christ’s love by being there in whatever way God is calling us to be. We will also be doing things such as landscaping, working on a garden, and painting a mural. But, our main goal is to build relationships with the kids at LAR and in turn, disciples for Christ.
So, here we are still with a million questions about how in the world we will meet our goals of raising $6,000 in about two months time. But we press forward knowing that it is not our battle alone. The Lord will provide. We are asking if God is putting this on your heart to help us. Whether that is through a financial donation, prayer, or both. We need financial support but we also need your prayers that our hearts and minds will be prepared for the trip and focused on Christ’s glory, not our own.
We are so humbled and thankful for this opportunity and pray that God will use our story and this opportunity for His kingdom. It's not about the Jacques. It's about the Lord, His will for the children in Brazil, and for your life too.
In His Name,
Michael & Rachel Jacques